CLL and bronchiectasis

In addition to CLL I have a lung condition bronchiectasis which causes a chronic cough and I produce a lot of mucus. When I saw my lung consultant recently I mentioned that the mucus was rarely coloured but nearly always clear or opaque. I believe he said this was because of the CLL which could mask the condition. I should have enquired further but wonder whether anyone can enlighten me on this.

8 Replies

  • The dont like talking about stuff thats not cll even tho i think lot would been mis disgnosed with other conditions befour the cll was spoted.

    Its good job researchs look past stuff for cures tho

  • Very interesting post. I too have similar symptoms and see my ENT tomorrow and Hem/Onc next week. I will mention your post.


  • I too have the same, the minute i get up in the morning there's coughing & bringing up mucus.

    I've had this for quite a while & only ever see GP when it turns green in colour.

  • I had a cough for almost 15 years. It started when I had a sinus infection and the cough wouldn't go away. I had the same clear mucous that would make me cough and gag. I noticed that if I had any other procedures that required antibiotics, the cough would stop. After trying everything and all kinds of drs, one Dr. Finally gave me a strong antibiotic for 30 days. That was six years ago and I haven't coughed since. I know that they have to be careful not to kill all of your good bacteria, but I'm sure I wouldn't still be here if I would have continued with that energy draining cough. I can sympathize with you. I hope you can get some help. Living like that is no fun. Hopefully someone else can point you in the right direction. Hugs!!

  • Pilch, you mentioned in another community have you "have been told low white blood cell count (Leukopenia - Neil) can affect the mucus".

    I've had a low neutrophil count (neutropenia) for nearly 7 years due to my CLL. In a healthy person, neutrophils make up 40 to 70% of the white blood cell count. The problem with a low white cell count is that there are no symptoms (other than increased infections). Believe me, I really wish that there was some way to know other than via frequent blood tests or frequent infections when my neutrophil count was particularly low.

    In my web search for "low white cell count affect mucus", I found two sites that mention mucus -

    Canadian Cancer Society:

    " Leukopenia and neutropenia do not cause any symptoms. People with cancer usually find out they have low white blood cell counts from a blood test or when they get an infection. An infection can start in almost any part of the body, but many occur in the skin, mucous membranes, digestive tract or respiratory tract."

    and the Breastcare site

    "One of the things that sometimes make it difficult to tell that your WBC has been compromised is that you may not have the usual signs or symptoms associated with an infection. We all know we should be aware of redness, swelling, pus at the site of an injury or incision, a cough, unusual sputum or mucus, or nasal drainage. But it is vitally important for you to let your doctor know if you begin to feel ill or under the weather, even if none of those symptoms is present." (My emphasis)

    More on mucus colour and white cells:

    "Purulent sputum contains pus, composed of white blood cells, cellular debris, dead tissue, serous fluid, and viscous liquid (mucus). Purulent sputum is typically yellow or green. It is seen in cases of bronchiectasis, lung abscess, an advanced stage of bronchitis, or acute upper respiratory tract infection (common cold, laryngitis)."

    Health Hypte - Sputum color causes and meanings:

    - Mentions both yellow and green sputum as caused by neutrophils.

    So I think you are right in saying that "I believe he (your lung consultant) said this was because of the CLL which could mask the condition." In other words, when you are ill, and particularly if you have neutropenia, you may produce clearer mucus than someone without CLL, because you don't have as many dead white blood cells in your mucus.

    In summary, don't be reluctant to seek medical attention if you are feeling unwell, even if you lack the typical mucus symptoms of someone without CLL.


  • Thank you for all the information. I'm due to see the consultant again fairly soon and will go into much more detail this time.

  • Very interested in all the above comments, as my husband has just been diagnosed with bronchiectasis. He has just finished one lot of antibiotics and steroids, but within a day has started to go down with what appears to be another infection. He has been coughing badly for months but the lung clinic did not seem to relate this to his CLL. We are due back at the haematologists this next week so I will ask them about it.

  • Apparently this condition can be caused by low IGG levels. I'm having mine checked again Monday by my Hem/Onc.

    Also seen with deficiencies in Vit D levels too.


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